• ChrisLeone

The Story Behind the "New Look"

Updated: Jan 1

Out with the old and in with the new they say...right? Well, basically. Garden State Tortoise is 10 years old this year! I can't believe that. It's true though. It's been 10 solid years and so, so much has happened. I honestly can't believe what this thing has become. I owe it all to the amazing support I get not just from you guys who read, like, share or view what I post but from my incredible, unstoppable wife as well. We felt it was "time" to change things up a bit and it was Casey who really pushed me to take a step back, take it all in and get ready for a rebrand. Any business, organization or entity needs some refreshing after a while and that's great for our audience too. Looking back, there aren't many photos of us circa 2011-2012 but I did find this pic of Casey, shortly after we started dating. She's holding my beloved "BumbleBee", a western Hermann's tortoise that was very special to us. She is actually how the logo for our other website HermanniHaven.com came about. We didn't even have our own property or house yet when this photo was taken!

So.....we wanted to do something a little different this time. It seems that most companies have similar logos and looks especially in the reptile community which we certainly seemed to follow for a while. The good old colorful logo with a super attractive turtle, snake, frog or lizard of some kind on it....you know, sorta cartoonish but also realistic at the same time? Beautiful artwork of course but the truth is that we are lovers of the outdoors. We love the marsh, the beach, the mountains, our pine trees, the smells, the sounds and the earthy tones. We wanted to somehow incorporate that into our new look and since Casey is absolutely insane with design, she aimed to make us a version of a "state park-ish" kinda emblem with a very rustic feel. Something "less polished" if you will.

She created all the landscape and background images, along with color scheme for all of this. She even hand drew the detail. I tapped into the little artist I used to be as a kid and drew up several different turtles and tortoises to be used in them. Now we had something that legitimately would be different from anything else out there and it would be 100% original. We chose a fun but bold font, slapped it altogether, spent so many late nights going back and forth about things and then bam! We finally had it.

This main logo features some of our favorite natural elements like mountains and pine trees but the star player is the featured eastern box turtle. We chose this species because it really says a lot about Garden State Tortoise and myself as a person who somehow ended up with a successful career in the reptile world. The eastern box turtle was the very first reptile I ever laid eyes on at the age of 5. My dad was mowing the lawn, accidentally grazed one with the lawn mower (it was fine, just a big scratch on the shell), picked it up and gave it to me as I played in the backyard sandbox. The rest is history. This next photo is one of yours truly from way, way back, around the time that first eastern box turtle came into my life.

Box turtles in general make up a large portion of the collection here and we happen to live in the heart of eastern box turtle country. They come walking through our yard on any given day in the spring and summer and when it rains, well, if you know box turtles then you know what rain means for them. We also have plenty of these amazing little turtles in our care. Between the ones I've had since I was younger, the rescues, the zoo drop offs and the confiscations we take in, there's a whole lot of 'em! Lastly, eastern box turtles are a true symbol of the absolutely gorgeous wildlife that occurs here in the Garden State.

Along with the main logo, I wanted to have several icons to represent not only the sectors of the GST website but to also represent the most important pieces of this crazy dream come true. Conservation and preservation are both strongly needed to actually play a role in the ultimate saving of turtles and tortoises and uniting those sides has proven to be difficult over the years. Both are so important to us here so we made sure we came up with icons for them among other things.

We're excited for this new look, 2021 and our 10 year anniversary. The main logo design will be available in our shop on various items so stay tuned for that and here's to the bright, amazing future we hope to have. Thank you all!



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